Monday, March 24, 2014

The Penitential Psalms - Psalm 50/4 - verses 7-9

Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, 1405–1408/9. Herman, Paul, and Jean de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. Ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum; 9 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (23.8 x 16.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1):

Verse 8 of Psalm 50, Asperges me, is one of the better known verses of the psalm by virtue of its use at Mass, but its context is important.  And verse 9 is my personal favourite in the entire psalm, speaking of the joy that comes from forgiveness of our sins.

Ecce enim veritátem dilexísti: * incérta et occúlta sapiéntiæ tuæ manifestásti mihi.
Ecce enim veritatem in corde dilexisti et in occulto sapientiam manifestasti mihi.
Ecce enim ueritatem diligis; absconditum et arcanum sapientiae manifestasti mihi.

δο γρ λήθειαν γάπησας τ δηλα κα τ κρύφια τς σοφίας σου δήλωσάς μοι

Text notes: Incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mini =The secret (unascertained) and hidden things of Thy wisdom Thou hast made known to me.

incertus, a, um, hidden, uncertain.
occultus, a. um  hidden, secret
manifesto, avi, atum, are to make known, reveal, make manifest.

For behold you have loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of your wisdom you have made manifest to me.
For, behold, thou lovest truth: thou hast manifested to me the secret and hidden things of thy wisdom
But lo, thou requirest truth in the inward parts, and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.

St Alphonsus Liguori ties this verse back to the past graces that David had received:

Thou lovest the truth, and him also who confesses his fault: I confess my ingratitude, inasmuch as Thou hast favored me by making known to me the secrets of Thy wisdom, secrets uncertain and hidden to others.

Aspérges me hyssópo, et mundábor: * lavábis me, et super nivem dealbábor.

αντιες με σσώπ κα καθαρισθήσομαι πλυνες με κα πρ χιόνα λευκανθήσομαι

Text notesBritt notes that the verb used here in the Hebrew text is the same as the word meaning to sin, only in the form which means to expiate a sin, or cleanse from sin (Pope). He also points out that sprinkling was a symbol of purification, and that there is an allusion here to the legal rite of purification. Cf. Lev.14,4-7; Num. 19,18; Heb. 9,13 ff. In particular, the herb hyssop was used in ceremonies of atonement and purification.  Lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor =Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.

aspergo, spersi, spersum, ere 3 to sprinkle; to purify, purge, cleanse.
mundo, avi, atum, are, to cleanse
lavo, lavi, lautum or lotum, are, to wash
dealbo, avi, atum, are  to make white, whiten.

You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: you shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be purified: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Bellarmine makes the link to the previous verse, seeing the sprinkling with hyssop as foreshadowing baptism:

He now discloses one of the: "Uncertain and hidden things of his wisdom," namely, that in the new dispensation men would be sprinkled with water in Baptism, and thereby perfectly justified, alluding to the ceremony described in Num. 19, where three things are said to be necessary to expiate uncleanness: the ashes of a red heifer, burnt as a holocaust; water mixed with the ashes; and hyssop to sprinkle it. The ashes signified the death of Christ; the water, Baptism; and hyssop, faith; for hys­sop is a stunted plant, generally growing on a rock. In the typi­cal expiation, the water purified, but by virtue of the ashes of the slain heifer, and the aspersion with the hyssop; thus, the baptismal water purifies, by the application of the death and merits of Christ, through faith. It is, then, to the real, as well as the fig­urative expiation, that David refers when he says, "Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed;" for he asks for the cleansing which he knew was only emblematic, that by hys­sop, which, however, he knew would be converted into the reality of the institution of Baptism. To show God was the primary author of such purification, he does not say, let the priest sprinkle me, but, sprinkle me yourself; to show the perfection of the thorough cleansing to be had in Baptism, destroying sin most effectually, and giving additional grace.

Audítui meo dabis gáudium et lætítiam: * et exsultábunt ossa humiliáta.
Audire me facies gaudium et laetitiam, et exsultabunt ossa, quae contrivisti.
Auditum mihi facies gaudium et laetitiam, ut exultent ossa quae confregisti.

κουτιες με γαλλίασιν κα εφροσύνην γαλλιάσονται στ τεταπεινωμένα

auditus, us, m. hearing, ear.

To my hearing you shall give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
Thou shalt cause me to hear gladness and joy: the afflicted bones shall rejoice.
Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Cassiodorus summarises his reasons for joy:

The joy implies absolution, the gladness endur­ing rewards. The joy and gladness he shall hear is that promised to those who are forgiven: Come, blessed of my Father, possess ye the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning of the world. Next comes: And the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice—understand "when the tidings mentioned have been heard." This argument is called a consequentibus, for when these tidings have been heard joy must inevitably follow. By bones are meant the supports of the mind, which were inevitably utterly humbled until this penitent could be absolved. He used the word humbled because of his awareness of his fault; this always makes men humble for their profit.

St Thomas sees it as pointing to his hope of recovery of the gifts of prophesy and good conscience that he had lost.  He suggests that spiritual joy has three steps:

The first is manifest in the conciliation of desire; the second in the enlarging of the heart; the third in advancing to outward things. Conciliation is designated by joy, when he says: To my hearing thou shalt give joy; from this namely that I may hear what you say, or what Nathan said. Philippians 4. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say rejoice." surely when desires reposes in the thing loved then his soul is enlarged to attain further enlarging; and this appears in perceptible things. II Cor. 6. "Our heart is enlarged." And therefore he say gladness, which here conveys enlargement, as if it were breadth. But when it is beyond this that gladness abounds even to the body. 

Psalm 50: Miserere me Deus 
In finem. Psalmus David cum venit ad eum Nathan propheta, quando intravit ad Bethsabee.
Unto the end, a psalm of David, 2 when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had sinnedwith Bethsabee.
1 Miserére mei Deus, * secúndum magnam misericórdiam tuam.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy.
2  Et secúndum multitúdinem miseratiónum tuárum, * dele iniquitátem meam.
And according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
3  Amplius lava me ab iniquitáte mea: * et a peccáto meo munda me.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
4  Quóniam iniquitátem meam ego cognósco: * et peccátum meum contra me est semper.
For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
5  Tibi soli peccávi, et malum coram te feci: * ut justificéris in sermónibus tuis, et vincas cum judicáris.
To you only have I sinned, and have done evilbefore you: that you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged.
6  Ecce enim in iniquitátibus concéptus sum: * et in peccátis concépit me mater mea.
For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.
7  Ecce enim veritátem dilexísti: * incérta et occúlta sapiéntiæ tuæ manifestásti mihi.
For behold you have loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of your wisdom you have made manifest to me.
8  Aspérges me hyssópo, et mundábor: * lavábis me, et super nivem dealbábor.
You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: you shall wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
9  Audítui meo dabis gáudium et lætítiam: * et exsultábunt ossa humiliáta.
To my hearing you shall give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
10  Avérte fáciem tuam a peccátis meis: * et omnes iniquitátes meas dele.
Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
11  Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: * et spíritum rectum ínnova in viscéribus meis.
Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
12  Ne projícias me a fácie tua: * et spíritum sanctum tuum ne áuferas a me.
Cast me not away from your face; and take not your holy spirit from me.
13  Redde mihi lætítiam salutáris tui: * et spíritu principáli confírma me.
Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
14  Docébo iníquos vias tuas: * et ímpii ad te converténtur.
I will teach the unjust your ways: and the wicked shall be converted to you.
15  Líbera me de sanguínibus, Deus, Deus salútis meæ: * et exsultábit lingua mea justítiam tuam.
Deliver me from blood, O God, you God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol your justice.   
16  Dómine, lábia mea apéries: * et os meum annuntiábit laudem tuam.
O Lord, you will open my lips: and my mouth shall declare your praise.
17  Quóniam si voluísses sacrifícium dedíssem útique: * holocáustis non delectáberis.
For if you had desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings you will not be delighted.
18  Sacrifícium Deo spíritus contribulátus: * cor contrítum, et humiliátum, Deus non despícies.
A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, you will not despise.
19  Benígne fac, Dómine, in bona voluntáte tua Sion: * ut ædificéntur muri Jerúsalem.
Deal favourably, O Lord, in your good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
20  Tunc acceptábis sacrifícium justítiæ, oblatiónes, et holocáusta: * tunc impónent super altáre tuum vítulos.
Then shall you accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon your altar.

You can find the next part in this series on Psalm 50 here.

No comments:

Post a Comment